West Virginia's 87-59 victory over Mount St. Mary's certainly wasn't pretty. The game saw both teams combine for 34 turnovers and 46 fouls and neither team ever found an offensive rhythm. Still though, the Mountaineers' press was too much for the Mount and West Virginia was able to wear down and overpower a much weaker opponent.
West Virginia wasn't able to start its normal starting five as Daxter Miles sat out the game with a lingering illness and Tarik Phillip started in place of the junior guard. Phillip, like many of the Mountaineers, didn't play his best game on Friday night as the Brooklyn native posted a 2:3 assist-turnover ratio. The Mountaineers' were sloppy at times against the Mount, who much like West Virginia likes to pressure the ball and be the aggressor on the defensive end. However, despite an ugly offensive effort the Mountaineers were able to pull away fairly quickly though behind solid efforts from Nathan Adrian and Esa Ahmad, who had scored seven and eight points respectively in the first 20 minutes and propelled the Mountaineers to a 43-24 lead at the break.
The second half was more of the same as both teams struggled to find a rhythm offensively and committed several fouls. Much like the first half though, West Virginia was able to press MSM and force the Mount in several mistakes. WVU forced 22 turnovers on the night and turned in 26 points off of turnovers. The Mountaineers also bullied the Mount on the glass, winning the rebounding margin 45-32 and outscoring the Mount 34-22 in the paint. A big reason West Virginia was able to win that battle was the play of true freshman Sagaba Konate, who turned in 11 points and six rebounds, all of which came after the break. The performance did not go unnoticed by teammates and Teyvon Myers gave the big man a rave review after the game.
"I think Sags is a monster fresh off the boat," Myers said. "He's a monster and he just doesn't care. I love Sags."
Myers also credited some of the sloppy play to first game jitters. But the Mountaineers leading scorer, Nate Adrian (who ended the game with 13 points), said the team will have a lot to work on going forward.
"There are a lot of things we have to improve on," Adrian said. "They shot too many lay-ups on us. We have to improve on both (defense and offense)."
Despite the defensive performance not being up to snuff the Mountaineers held the Mount to 35 percent shooting, forced 22 turnovers and held the opposition to under 60 points. West Virginia will start focusing in on improving this weekend as they prepare for a quick turnaround and face Mississippi Valley State on Monday night.